How about something short this week? Perfect! But stay tuned because something much lengthier is coming soon!
Beyond wondering about Rey’s parents, and Snoke’s true identity, two of the first questions we asked ourselves after seeing The Force Awakens was: “how long has Kylo Ren been evil, and how long has Luke been gone?” Most of us assumed that Rey’s abandonment on Jakku coincided with Ben’s turn to the dark side, and Luke’s exile. Our assumptions were crushed in Bloodline, where we learned that Ben was still one of Luke’s students six years before The Force Awakens. But did Snoke already have Ben’s ear by that point?
All good questions for another time. Back to today’s question:
Is Luke stranded on Ahch-To, or can he leave any time? Could he have a ship parked somewhere on the planet? Conversely, if he is stranded there, then who dropped him off? The easy answer is Lor San Tekka but things are never that simple, are they?
Let’s take a look at both options:
He’s Stranded on Ahch-To
This option is the low-hanging fruit, and the widely accepted answer. In his search for the first Jedi temple, Luke had to come to grips with his newfound solitude. Not only is he remorseful and guilt-ridden over what happened to his academy, but he believes nothing good comes from being a Skywalker. He’s chosen meditation for his remaining days, comfortable with the idea that he might die alone there.
He Can Leave at Any Time
I don’t think we’ve considered this one. There’s never any mention that he was dropped off there. Everything points to him being on his own all this time, which means he arrived on Ahch-To under his own power. So unless he borrowed Captain Kirk’s transporter, he’s got a ship somewhere, right? Maybe he’s been there for so long that his ship is in a state of disrepair, or simply out of fuel. In my mind, Luke knows that in order to defeat the evil that is Snoke, Kylo Ren, and the First Order, he needs to unlock the secrets of the first Jedi Temple. There’s no sense in leaving without it. So he’s decided to sit and wait until the one who can help him to harness that power arrives. Enter Rey!
(Side note: here’s another possible subtle link to Rebels – in the episode entitled “”, Kanan and Ezra enter an ancient Jedi Temple on Lothal, where they find the remains of Jedi Masters who died while waiting for their padawans to complete their quest within the temple. Could this have been Luke’s fate if not for Rey’s arrival?)
Does Luke being stranded vs choosing to stay in isolation change your opinion of Luke at all?
If you want to hear what is sure to be a great take on this, make sure you’re subscribed to the Talk Star Wars podcast. I put this question to them and I can’t wait to hear their thoughts on this.